Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Convention schedules forces quick media turnaround

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

The Democratic and Republican conventions are in back-to-back weeks (never happened before in the television age), and this is forcing the media to put special plans in place:

A compressed 2008 primary calendar will force presidential candidates to sprint from state to state beginning with Iowa on Jan. 3. At the other end of the nominating pipeline, an unusually tight window between the Democratic and Republican national conventions will pose its own challenges for news organizations. Only four days separate the end of the Democratic National Convention in Denver and the start of the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, a much shorter timeline than the near-month that separated the 2004 conventions.

The quick turn was front and center Monday as Republican convention organizers briefed hundreds of journalists on logistical preparations for the GOP's gathering. Operations managers for news outlets as far away as Japan learned that they might only have a day or two to get from Denver to St. Paul with gear set for a mandatory security sweep.

That security sweep is the gating item. It's usually done a day or two before the convention starts, and afterwards everything has to go through the major security to get into the arena, which often means major delays. So all the big communications equipment needs to be in the arena before the sweep. There will be major logistical headaches for the media leading into the Labor Day weekend. Which is why I noted way back in Feb '06 how Dean's choice of convention dates forced the Republican's hand:
Starting the convention on Labor Day would not be best in terms of media coverage. Do you think the delegates and VIPs want to give up their Labor Day weekend? The media would be grumpy about it also, especially with the Democrats just finishing a few days earlier.
Grumpy media in St. Paul. That's what we want. And the Republicans have no one to blame but themselves for choosing the date.